A TEAM of lawyers who receive tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers money each year will ‘arbitrate’ or ‘settle’ disputes between contractors and the Scottish Government, says Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Roseanna Cunningham who announced earlier this week the Scottish Government’s contractual default dispute clause is now Scottish arbitration under the guise of the Scottish Arbitration Centre.
However, the Minister did not reveal in her statement the close links between the SNP, the Scottish Government and the Arbitration Centre itself which may leave some of its intended users questioning the impartiality of the organisation and any subsequent arbitration it conducts between external parties and the Scottish Government.
Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Legal Affairs said in a statement: “Arbitration can play an important role in meeting the needs of businesses, their customers and their employees in finding cost-effective resolution to complex issues"There is a fantastic level of expertise within Scotland’s legal community in arbitration, and we want to capitalise on this to make Scotland a world leader in the lucrative arbitration market. We have been determined in our commitment to provide businesses and lawyers with the infrastructure they need to make Scotland an international centre for arbitration and enhance this country's global competitiveness. As part of our efforts, this Government is actively inserting Scottish arbitration clauses in all Scottish Government contracts."
Welcoming the commitment, Andrew Mackenzie, chief executive of the Scottish Arbitration Centre, said he hoped it would encourage other public sector bodies, including the UK Government, to follow suit. "We understand that arbitration business is generally on the increase in Scotland, and have been informed that the Scottish Arbitration Rules have been inserted into numerous private sector contracts. This bodes well for the domestic arbitration market”, he commented.
The Scottish Arbitration Centre’s Andrew MacKenzie is a solicitor on secondment from the Scottish Government Justice Directorate. Becoming a solicitor in 2004, he advised the Scottish Government Health Department. In 2008, he was appointed by Lord Cullen to be Secretary of his Review of Fatal Accident Inquiry Legislation. In 2009, he became Head of Courts and Legal Services Reform in the Scottish Government Justice Directorate, and had policy responsibility for the Legal Services (Scotland) Bill and civil court rules. Since August 2010, he also had responsibility for policy on alternative dispute resolution, including the Government commitment to establish a Scottish Arbitration Centre.
The Scottish Arbitration Centre’s Directors are:
Brandon Malone (nominated by Law Society of Scotland)
Neil Stevenson (nominated by Law Society of Scotland)
Gordon Bathgate (nominated by Chartered Institute for Arbitrators)
Sarah Speirs (nominated by Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors)
Janey Milligan (nominated by Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors)
Gordon Reid QC (nominated by the Faculty of Advocates)
Alan Summers QC (nominated by the Faculty of Advocates)
Anyone involved in contractual disputes with the Scottish Government may wish to check up on the impartiality of the Scottish Arbitration Centre and its members who are mostly from the legal profession and other self regulating industries which rely on the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Arbitration Centre, a business headed by a former SNP legal spokesman, Brandon Malone, who made a name for himself in the letters column of the Scotsman newspaper a few years back, receives TENS OF THOUSANDS OF POUNDS of public money from the Scottish Government in the form of annual payments along with access to Scottish Ministers, according to information disclosed by the Scottish Government under Freedom of Information legislation. However, the centre has not publicised any big successes as of late.
Ex-Court of Session Fettesgate Judge Lord Dervaird made Hon Vice President of SNP/Law Society backed Scottish Arbitration Centre One of the appointments made to the Scottish Arbitration Centre raised eyebrows, in the shape of LORD DERVAIRD (aka Prof. John Murray QC) the Court of Session judge who STUNNED the Scots legal establishment in the early 1990s by resigning in a cloud of rumours connected to the FETTESGATE ‘Gay Justice Conspiracy' scandal has today been appointed as an Honorary Vice President of the Scottish Arbitration Centre, a ‘joint venture’ opened by the SNP’s Fergus Ewing and backed by the Scottish Government, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Faculty of Advocates, the Law Society of Scotland and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
The Scottish Arbitration Centre came about after a specific proposal for an arbitration centre was presented by Brandon Malone, solicitor advocate, on behalf of the Scottish Government’s steering group at a meeting last year between Fergus Ewing and representatives of the bodies authorised to act as Arbitral Appointments Referees (AARs) under the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010. Mr Malone, who also happens to be Chairman of the Scottish Arbitration Centre, has been involved with the SNP for many years and was the party’s “Assistant Spokesperson on Justice & Equality” in the late 90’s, famed among other things yet to be published, for writing letters in the Scotsman newspaper defending the legal profession.
The much hyped Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 pushed through by the SNP Scottish Government which the Scottish Arbitration Centre is using as a business model, aimed to promote domestic & international arbitration under Scots Law and, laughably, seeks to promote Scotland as a place to arbitrate disputes, legal & otherwise.
Critics of the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 and its passage through the Scottish Parliament point out the legislation was put through Hollyrood at the suggestion of the Scots legal establishment to corner the arbitration market, seen as a lucrative business to be controlled before ‘outside elements’ took it over. The legislation seeks to increase the number of arbitrations under Scots Law while also increasing the level of business for arbitration advisers and the number of appointments of arbitrators based in Scotland, as long as they are agreeable to, or members of, or are under the control of the organisations who back the Scottish Arbitration Centre.